Germany’s digital infrastructure ministry revealed the first projects to receive cash from a €300 million fund created to develop and test open RAN technology, with the country focused on the architecture’s use in industrial 5G networks.

The funding, which was announced earlier this year, has been earmarked by the Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur (BMVI) to advance the deployment of networks using open RAN technology.

Alongside benefits in widening operator supply chains and cutting costs, the BMVI expects use of open RAN to aid digital transformation of businesses and industry adding it can be “an important driver for setting up 5G campus networks due to the high degree of customisation of the network architecture.”

The first projects funded are a test lab set to run until 2024, testbed city rollouts in Neubrandenburg and Plauen, and a wider research scheme aimed at stimulating an ecosystem of compatible components.

The lab is scheduled to receive €17 million, the cities around €11.5 million and the research project €2.5 million.

In a statement, Germany’s minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure Andreas Scheuer said the lab was part of “strengthening Germany as an industrial and technology location and making our communication technology fit for the future.”

He added the city project: “enables network operators to gain experience at an early stage in order to make the cellular network in Germany more efficient and to accelerate the transition to new cellular standards.”

In a separate statement, Deutsche Telekom revealed it would lead a consortium running the lab, known as i14y. Other members include Telefonica Deutschland, Vodafone Germany, Nokia and Rohde & Schwarz. The consortium is set to match the BMVI investment in the project.